LA Galaxy defender A.J. DeLaGarza said Monday that he expects to return for Sunday's MLS Cup final against the New England Revolution, according to MLSSoccer.com.
DeLaGarza left in the 61st minute of the first leg of the Western Conference finals against the Seattle Sounders after injuring his hamstring. He was then left off the gameday roster for the second leg Sunday in Seattle.
“I feel a lot better, will be ready to play this weekend,” DeLaGarza said Monday afternoon on MLS' media teleconference with the Galaxy and Revolution, according to MLSSoccer.com. “It was just a factor of [CenturyLink Field's artificial] turf and the weather was not good to go out there.
“You saw (Sounders midfielder) Ozzie Alonso had two weeks to prepare for that, and he was still struggling with his hamstring. I thought it was smart on our behalf just to get a guy in there who's fresh and ready, and it paid off at the end, and we won.”
Alonso also had an injured hamstring and returned for the second leg of the West finals after missing the first leg.
DeLaGarza was replaced in the lineup at right back by Dan Gargan in both legs.
DeLaGarza, a six-year veteran, was named the Galaxy's defender of the year this season after starting 28 games and appearing at all four of the team's backline positions. The Galaxy signed DeLaGarza to a multi-year contract extension in October.
The Galaxy are attempting to win their third MLS Cup in the past four seasons. The Revolution have never won the Cup but have made the final four times, including three straight times from 2005-07.
- Ben Estes